To the Editor:
We lived in Independence, Mo. when the gambling industry persuaded the Missouri state legislature to vote in favor of state gaming, by promissory to give a certain percentage of their earnings to support Missouri schools.
Any city wishing to have gambling had to put the issue to a vote by its citizens. The state had the final say as to where the casinos would be. Kansas City, next door to Independence, voted "Yes" and were soon building several casinos along the Missouri River. Independence voted "No."
Within a year of the casino openings in Kansas City, we began noticing pawn shops opening in small neighborhood business centers. This occurred all across Independence. For years before this there had been only one pawn shop, near the county courthouse, in the whole city of 100,000 people. Within two years, several of our favorite family restaurants were feeling the pinch of business competition from the casinos. Casino restaurants subsidized their lowered menu prices with earnings from the casinos.
When we got back to Independence for a visit, we find those favorite restaurants have closed down. There are even more pawn shops now.
The people in Independence felt we could not be negatively impacted by gambling in Kansas City. We were wrong.
Robert and Angela Iles